The silent killer and how to avoid it.
Part Two: Clients - Loyalty and Gains
Welcome to the second of our three-part series on Brand Complacency. In our first post “EMPLOYEES: Retention and Recruitment” we talked about how brand complacency can affect your employees and how to tackle the problem.
The focus of this week’s article is on your clients, regardless if you are a company, an organization or a charity. As a matter of fact, everyone needs to remain relevant to their customers and long-time supporters in order to avoid the complacency trap.
Don’t lose focus: 4 ways to stay sharp!
When it comes to remaining relevant whether it be to clients, customers or supporters we want to highlight where things tend to go wrong and how you can spot these dangers easily and quickly.
It starts with avoiding the trap of ‘complacency’ - the silent killer in business.
1 – Do not underestimate your long-term clients
In the world of B2B (Business to Business) the length of time it takes to win over a new client, create great working relationships and retain long-term trust can be significant. It can also become the lifeblood for many companies. Moreover, a Harvard Business School study indicated that increasing customer retention rates by 5% could raise profits between 25-95%.
So with all this investment in time and effort you would think that there would never be any chance of businesses becoming complacent about the value of their clients. Sadly, this does happen and the longer the working relationship the more likely it is to happen.
Last but not least, looking after your existing customers is probably more important and more cost-effective than finding new ones.
2 – Keep your fan base alive and kicking
Quite often the focus is based on winning ‘new' clients during boardroom meetings, little time is allocated on how to improve your market position with ‘existing’ clients. And whilst that might make perfect sense to directors and shareholders who want to see growth strategies taking shape, there is a danger of it being to the detriment of the service you already provide to your loyal and long-standing clients. We are not suggesting that winning over new clients is not important, it is of course very important, but it should never be at the cost of losing touch with your existing clients as that can result in your business effectively standing still.
3 – Show them that you care
Are you as excited about bringing new ideas and improved working practices to existing clients as you are with potential new clients? You should be because you have already won their trust. One of the most effective ways of making your client happy (and turning them into brand advocates) is to be proactive in ways that you can further support and improve their business. Even a simple email like this one can go a long way in keeping in touch and remaining relevant.
4 – Never take your clients for granted
You can be assured that they will be on the radar of your competitors and ironically, your long-time client is your competitors’ potential new target who may well be happy to receive a more attentive offer of support than they have been receiving from you.
Besides keeping in touch, another way to help your clients feel appreciated and know that you value their opinion are client surveys. Reporting back any action that you will be making as a result of their feedback could strengthen this feeling. The Brand Manager tool has survey templates incorporated and ready to use. It is simple to use and could keep you ahead of the game.
Value client loyalty
At your next board meeting bring your most loyal clients to the top of the agenda and discuss ways in which you can improve what may already be a great service that you deliver to them.
Can you be certain that they are aware of every aspect of your service offering?
A common mistake to make is assuming that your clients know everything about your brand and what it stands for.
Quite often you will lose out on business for no other reason than a lack of knowledge from your clients about what you and your team's expertise can offer.
Never be shy in connecting on a regular basis with your loyal clients - they will be reminded how much you appreciate them. They may also praise your proactive approach to helping them improve their own business. Especially if this is done with the same desire and passion you demonstrated to win them over in the first place.
In summary new client wins are exciting and can make you feel great about your business and future growth but always make sure that the service you deliver to your existing clients remains your primary focus. If you do they may well become your best advocate and help you win new business. This is clearly a win-win situation.
In our third and final 'Brand Complacency’ post we will be looking at: MARKETS - Positioning and Alignment.